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Residents tell legislators that Adirondack towns need jobs, industry

CHESTERTOWN - During a forum held by area state legislators to focus on Adirondack issues, Dave Scranton of Inlet stood up in a crowded auditorium and talked of how jobs, commerce and industry were becoming scarce across the region.

"For Adirondack communities, it's about survival," he said, blaming the state for obstructing development by acquiring land for wilderness. "We're getting squeezed out here."

As Scranton was blaming the Adirondack Park Agency for over-zealous regulation, forum moderator Bill Farber of the town of Morehouse yanked the microphone from Scranton's hands.

"We're keeping things positive," Farber said, noting he didn't necessarily disagree with the comments, but the meeting was intended to air only constructive ideas.

While Scranton's complaints were cut short, the first public forum of the Adirondack Caucus - a group of state legislators representing the region - heard a mixture of both complaints and initiatives for improving life in the Adirondacks from the 100 or so who attended the two-hour event April 14.

Whether it was boosting incentives for business development, consolidating public school administrations or spurring cooperation between communities, people from all over the Adirondacks offered their ideas.

Good jobs, affordable housing are crucial

Many of those speaking out did get their criticisms aired, however, as they offered suggestions.

Julie Berry of Indian Lake said she had to work two to three jobs to make a living as a health aide to sustain her household.

"I can't work more than 24/7," she said. "I'd like to see more long-term health care services in place."

She suggested that more long-term health care facilities be established, and for more nursing career educational courses to be available for Adirondack Park residents.

Jeremy Burch of Chestertown, 20, a SUNY Adirondack Forestry student, said that employment was scarce, and a large number of Adirondackers were forced to commute long distances for their jobs.

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